Jefferson falls to Bowdon in state semifinals
It was a good run, but it came up just a bit short.
The Jefferson baseball team completed its 2001 season Saturday
in Bowdon with a pair of losses in the state Class A semifinals.
The Red Devils came from behind to win both games, 7-4 and 11-10,
but Jefferson mounted serious rallies late to keep fans on their
feet, particularly in game two.
"We definitely got put out by a good team," head coach
Chuck Cook said afterward. "It just shows what we're made
of that we just didn't back down, and it almost worked. We went
down and faced the number-one team in the state, and the boys
fought as hard as they could fight."
The day began well enough, with the Dragons jumping out to a
2-0 lead in the first inning of game one. Ryan Gurley singled
and Josh Nabors reached on an error, and senior Corey Hill ripped
a triple down the right field line to drive both in.
Brantley Gilbert scored Jefferson's third run almost singlehandedly
in the second inning. Gilbert singled and stole second, then
went to third on an errant throw from the catcher on the steal.
A passed ball allowed Gilbert to dash home to make it 3-0.
Devil pitching sensation Tyler Meigs shut the Dragons down from
there, yielding only a chop single to Gilbert over the next four
innings. At the same time, Bowdon hitters began finding ways
to hit Hill's missiles. Bowdon scored three times in the bottom
of the second and threatened with a pair of two-out singles in
the third, but strong pitching from Hill forced an infield pop-out
to end the inning.
The tied game got even more tense in the fourth, when a Bowdon
baserunner stole second and bowled Dragon Ben Songer over as
he came in. A walk later, Meigs singled in the go-ahead run and
later scored on another single to make it 5-3.
Neither team sent more than three batters to the plate per inning
after that until the bottom sixth, when Bowdon got a two-out
walk and a bullet home run from Meigs that made it 7-3.
Gurley doubled with two out for Jefferson in the seventh, and
Nabors doubled him in to close the gap to 7-4, but Meigs still
had enough left for a strikeout to end the threat.
Bowdon took advantage of a walk, a single, an error and a hit
batsman to score in the first inning of game two, but starter
Kyle Potts held the Devils in check over the next two innings,
despite aggravating a separated fingernail on his pitching hand.
Jefferson got a double from Shane Wilburn, a walk and an error
in the bottom first to score two runs. Potts and Hill each sacrificed
runners over in the inning.
Bowdon threatened with two two-out singles in the second, but
third baseman Jeremy Smith came up with a nice grab on a low
line-drive to strand the runners.
Potts provided some fireworks in the second inning to give Jefferson
a 6-1 lead. Songer singled over third base and Gurley followed
with a double, and Nabors walked to load the bases. Potts responded
to the opportunity by slamming a home run that gave him some
breathing room on the mound. But it wouldn't last long.
The Devils led off the fourth inning with five consecutive singles,
and later added three more singles and a home run to take an
8-6 lead. Jefferson managed only a walk over the next two innings.
Bowdon scored three more times in the sixth, off three singles
and two Dragon errors to make it 11-6 heading in to Jefferson's
final two at-bats.
But even when facing a five-run deficit, the Dragons refused
Smith led off the sixth with a single, and Songer and Gurley
both doubled later with two outs to close to 11-8. Bowdon called
on Meigs for relief help, and the senior held off any further
Hill got Bowdon to go three up and three down in the seventh,
but saved his best work for the bottom half of the inning.
Potts led off with a ground-rule double before Meigs recorded
yet another strikeout. That brought Hill to the plate, and the
senior responded with one of his longest home runs in his final
career at-bat. The ball sailed more than 50 feet above the fence
340 feet away, and into the top of a massive poplar tree beyond.
The blast closed Bowdon's lead to 11-10 with one out, but a pair
of infield ground outs ended the game and Jefferson's season.
Hill's home run in his final at-bat held off a late-season charge
from Potts for the team lead in dingers. Hill had 10 for the
year, and Potts nine.
"I just felt honored to be able to be a part of this season
and this team," Cook continued. "I'm real proud of
them and the season tehy had. They accomplished a lot. When they
stepped out on the field, they gave 110 percent, and you can't
ask anything else. I wish we were playing for it all, but I'm
not disappointed in the boys. The way they pulled together as
a family, I'll never forget it, I promise you that. That's what
it's going to take next year, too."
Bowdon will travel to Walker this weekend for the final round
of the state tournament.
leads Leopards' spring football
New Banks County football coach Greg Moore set out to build a
competitive football team in Banks County during the Leopard's
spring practice which ran from May 14 to 25.
Moore is taking over the head coaching position after Rance Gillespie
left for Peach County's coaching job. Gillespie had been 5-15
over the past two seasons at Banks County.
"We have a strong group of seniors," Moore reported.
"My goal this spring was to work on fundamentals, blocking
and tackling, evaluate personnel and create some excitement."
Moore said that the fundamentals of blocking and tackling are
always a focus for him in the spring practice.
The Leopards will have two quarterbacks contending for the starting
job. Senior Bill Krauser and Sophomore Tyson Baxter are both
poised to take the lead role in Moore's wing-T offense.
Seth Brownlee stood out as the number one fullback in the Spring
practice and Corey Bolton looks to be the number one halfback.
The offensive line will be led by senior strong guard Cory Bolton
who will protect whoever is in the quarterback spot as the Leopards
plan" to put it in the air," Moore said.
"We got a good group of receivers," Moore reported,
including Hank Wilhelm and Tim Brown.
On the defensive side of the ball Michael Carlyle seems to be
most notable at tackle. Nick Baker at defensive end "had
a good spring," Moore said.
Moore stressed that "everyone had a good spring. We tried
to get everyone involved and we are excited about the kids coming
The Leopards will start weight training Monday morning (June
4) at 6:30 a.m. and many of the players will attend various camps
throughout the summer. Banks County will have a team camp later
in the summer, Moore said.
Tigers Finish Second Week
of Spring Practice On 'A Good Note,' Savage Says
The Commerce Tigers' football team finished up its second week
of spring practice Friday, May 25. The Tigers continued to run
through many of the drills they had started the week before and
continued to work on conditioning.
"We finished up on a good note," coach Steve Savage
reported. "We are better than when we first started. We
had a good attitude. This will take us into summer and into the
The football players had their physicals May 29 in the field
house and will begin weight training June 12.
Commerce will host The Northeast Georgia Offensive Camp July
17 through the 19.
"The camp is really two camps in one," Savage said.
One part will focus on quarterbacks, running backs and receivers.
The other is an offensive line camp.
Three hundred kids from all over North Georgia will participate
in the camp and 25 coaches will teach at the camp, Savage said.
begins tournament play this week
The Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department began its
end-of-season spring baseball and softball tournaments Tuesday,
and play will continue for some divisions through June 11.
The 7- and 8-year-old boys' baseball division kicked off the
tournaments with six games Tuesday at the Jefferson baseball
complex at Jefferson Elementary School. That division will also
complete its tournament first, with games scheduled Wednesday
through Saturday and the final round next Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The 13-14 boys will begin their tournament Saturday at Lamar
Murphy Park, with the final round scheduled for next Saturday
at 10 a.m. Also getting under way Saturday at Lamar Murphy will
be the 11-12 boys. That division has not yet been scheduled for
tournament play, as the regular season's final games will be
held Thursday. Seeds will be determined after Thursday's games,
but Saturday's game times are already set (see graphic on Page
2B). Tournament finals are set for next Saturday at noon and
the following Monday at 6:30 p.m., if needed.
Hoschton will host the 9-10 boys' baseball tournament, which
begins Saturday and will wrap up either next Saturday at 11:45
a.m. or the following Monday at 6:30 p.m., if needed.
Softball tournaments begin Monday, with the 7-8 girls and 11-12
girls at Lamar Murphy and the 9-10 girls at Nicholson. Finals
in the 11-12 division are scheduled to begin Thursday at 7:30
p.m. and wrap up Friday at 6:30 p.m. if needed, with the 9-10
girls Friday at 7:30 p.m. and 7-8 girls Friday at 7:15 p.m. and
again Saturday at 10 a.m., if needed.
helps guide diamond Dogs to NCAA Super Regionals
If the University of Georgia baseball team's postseason journey
finds its way to Omaha, Neb., former Raider Adam Swann will surely
be remembered for doing his part to clear the path.
The Comer native supplied some timely hitting during the diamond
Dogs' tear through the NCAA Regional Tournament, batting .400
with eight RBIs in five games, highlighted by a five-for-five
outing against Georgia Tech Saturday in which he drilled a grand
Swann's offensive efforts earned him all region tournament honors
and helped his team overcome an opening-round loss to collect
four consecutive wins to capture the region tournament title
and stay alive in the NCAA tournament.
The diamond Dogs are now two wins away from a trip to Nebraska
and the College World Series as they enter the best-of-three
NCAA Super Regional Tournament against Florida State in Athens
on June 1-3.
If the squad advances past the Seminoles, it will be Georgia's
first appearance in Omaha since 1990, the same year the diamond
Dogs secured their first and only national championship.
Swann certainly left his imprint on the regional play in Athens.
After going hitless in the team's opening-round loss to Georgia
Southern, Swann drilled an RBI double against Georgia Tech to
go with his grand slam, collecting five RBIs in a 13-5 win. He
then picked up two RBIs in the team's 10-9 rematch win over Georgia
Southern, followed by a three- for-four day with an RBI in a
9-3 win over Coastal Carolina. Swann then went 0-for-four in
the final round, 8-7 win over the Coastal Carolina squad, a game
in which teammate Jeff Keppinger belted three homers, including
a two-run, game-winning shot in the top of the ninth inning to
give Georgia the win.
Swann, who holds six offense records and one pitching record
from his playing days at Madison County High School, currently
is batting .324 with six home runs, 23 doubles and 60 RBIs for
the 45-19, ninth-ranked diamond Dogs.